A Friendly Guide to Understanding and Treating Your Migraine Symptoms

A Friendly Guide to Understanding and Treating Your Migraine Symptoms

25 May 2023 Health

Migraines surpass ordinary headaches in terms of severity. The excruciating pain pulsates, enduring for extended periods. Migraine, a neurological disorder, manifests primarily as a throbbing headache affecting one side of the head. Unlike secondary headaches triggered by other medical conditions, migraines are classified as primary headaches. Distinguishing between a migraine and a regular headache can be vexing. This article delves into migraine symptoms, effective treatment methods, and imparts fundamental knowledge about migraines.

1.     Prodrome and Aura Symptoms

Prodrome and Aura represent the initial stages of a migraine attack. The prodrome phase typically spans a few hours and occurs intermittently. It is also referred to as the pre-headache stage. During this phase, individuals may experience difficulties with concentration, nausea, irritability, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, muscle stiffness, cravings for certain foods, increased urination, bloating, and challenges with sleep and reading. The aura phase, lasting approximately sixty minutes, serves as a warning sign that a migraine headache is imminent. It encompasses a range of sensory, motor, and speech symptoms. Aura symptoms are reversible and encompass sensations of numbness and tingling, temporary vision loss, weakness on one side of the body, visual disturbances, and alterations in speech.

2.     Headache and Postdrome Symptoms

These stages mark the third and fourth phases of a migraine attack. The headache persists for approximately four to seventy-two hours and is often described as a penetrating or pulsating pain. It typically initiates on one side of the head and then spreads to the other. Symptoms include sensitivity to light and odors, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, pale skin tone, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. The postdrome stage, commonly referred to as a migraine hangover, lasts for a day or two. It affects around 80% of migraine sufferers and is characterized by difficulties with concentration, feelings of depression, fatigue, moments of euphoria, and cognitive challenges. The entire four-stage cycle takes approximately seventy-two hours to complete.

3.     Preventive and Abortive Medications

While doctors cannot cure migraines, they can effectively manage them. The primary treatment approaches encompass preventive and abortive medications. Preventive medications are prescribed by healthcare professionals for severe migraine headaches occurring more than four times per month. Their aim is to significantly reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. An example of such medications used for migraine prevention include those that are specifically designed to address the condition. Before using any preventive medication, it is crucial to be familiar with the accurate therapy instructions provided by healthcare professionals.

In some cases, obtaining these medications may require navigating through drug prior authorization resources. These resources are designed to ensure that the prescribed medications meet the specific criteria and guidelines set by insurance providers or healthcare systems. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider to understand and complete any necessary prior authorization requirements. On the other hand, abortive medications are most effective when used during the early stages of mild pain. These medications halt the progression of the headache and alleviate migraine symptoms. Examples of abortive medications include drugs that fall under various classes, such as those that belong to the Triptan class, as well as calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers.

4.     Over-the-counter Medications

These medications are commonly used to alleviate pain. They contain key components such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen, and caffeine. Known as analgesic medications, they belong to the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they help reduce inflammation. The Food and Drug Administration in USA has approved three over-the-counter products specifically for migraine headaches: Excedrin Migraines, Advil for Migraines, and Motrin for Migraine Pain. However, it is important to exercise caution when using over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs, as excessive use can lead to dependency issues. If you find yourself taking these medications more than two to three times a week, it is advisable to inform your healthcare provider, who can prescribe more potent alternatives.

5.     Home Remedies

Other ways to deal with migraines, which are commonly referred to as home remedies, can provide relief. These methods encompass finding solace in a dim and peaceful location, gently massaging your head, engaging in Yoga, practicing meditation, placing a chilled cloth on your forehead or the back of your neck, and ensuring sufficient fluid intake. Biofeedback is also crucial as it allows you to identify stressful circumstances that may provoke symptoms. This technique utilizes specialized equipment to gauge the physical tension within your body and alerts you to take measures to manage your stress.


Migraines can hinder your ability to perform daily tasks such as work, school, and other obligations. This article has outlined the different phases of a migraine episode, potential symptoms, and available treatments. By being aware of these aspects, you can effectively manage your migraines!

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